The Vic­to­ri­an Order of Nurs­es for Cana­da (VON Cana­da) 2014 report to donors

Exhibited by
Leslie Turcotte, executive director – resource development VON Canada and Adriana Foresto, manager, fund development, VON Thunder Bay
September 13, 2016
Medium of Communication
Report to donor/direct mail
Target Audience
Type of Charity
Country of Origin
Date of first appearance
July 2014

SOFII’s view

This newsletter from a long-established organisation that continues to evolve aimed to show donors how a new way of working would also continue to build healthy communities. Skilful use of technology allowed them to create a newsletter that could respond to donors needs and choices and, at the same time, produce huge economies. 

Creator / originator

Trico Design Team

Summary / objectives

VON is a leader in providing home and community care in Canada. As a national organisation we have a strong grassroots following with VON sites across the country and more than 14,000 volunteers and staff members. 

VON moved from being a federated business model to a national business model and this newsletter was aimed at bridging this transition with donors. Although national in scope, VON is fuelled by the passion and hard work at the local level and we wanted to continue to build on this with our new operating practices. 

Using new technology, VON was able to create one newsletter with 16 variations for specific sites and regions. VON benefited from the cost savings gained through economies of scale and a consistent national look and feel. Using new print technology, the front and back cover of the newsletter had local news, information, images and photos. However, the inside pages shared information, photos and articles that were pan-Canadian. The newsletter was true to VON’s grassroots source but now with a national unity. 

• The goal was to promote VON’s work both locally and nationally. 
• Inspire continued support from donors and reinforce their decision to support. 
• Create a communications piece that would continue to speak to donors locally and remind them of our important work in their community and in communities across Canada.
• Introduce our new national president and CEO. 
• Create an opportunity for national and site collaboration. 
• Increase our focus on online giving by including more encouraging prompts to do so in our direct mail and by having a greater fund development presence on our website.


VON is a national grassroots organisation that is building healthy communities. When we see a need in the community we answer it. Our founders were frontier busters and we continue to go where others don’t – in the homes of people who need us. We are local – locally across Canada. 

We  offer more than 75 different types of home care, personal support and community services to enhance each client’s quality of life by providing them with the personal assistance and support needed to make them comfortable in their own home and have been doing so for more than 117 years.

VON is dedicated to being a leader in the delivery of innovative, comprehensive health and social services and to influencing the development of health and social policy in Canada. We are a national health organisation and registered charity offering a wide range of community health care solutions that meet the needs of Canadians from coast to coast. VON is committed to continuous quality improvement and is accredited by Accreditation Canada.

Charitable gifts to VON Canada directly support men, women, children and families in need through high quality home and community health care services. 

Donors can support the entire network, or target contributions to a specific VON community site or a certain programme. The choice is the donors and whatever area they decide to support will benefit greatly from any contribution.

Our direct mail appeals reflect our unique grassroots/national community approach. Most of our supporters and volunteers are modest, hard-working, civic-minded individuals who make a difference every day in their community. VON is not about the big ‘flash’ but rather the roll up your sleeves and get the job done approach. We are about making a healthy difference in your community. We are about seeing a need and answering it. Our materials reflect this and speak to this group.

Why does this merit special recognition?

This is a rare example of a 100+ year-old organisation continuing to evolve. It shows local site offices/communities and the national office working together to meet donors’ needs. 

1.  An example of a national organisation acting nationally and locally at the same time.
2.  An example of using new printing technologies to personalise the donor experience and save costs.
3.  An example of how you can personalise and target your message with a limited budget using new technologies


Because of the print technology that Trico brought to VON, we were able to personalise each newsletter under the same print run and stay on budget.


This was a success in a number of ways. This new approach meant that local sites and the national office had to work together as a team. From an organisational standpoint this is a big ‘win’. In addition, the key to the success of this project was having a newsletter that reports to donors with both national and local value. VON was able to show donors how we are having a real impact in their community and nationally. Funds are still being collected and continue to be strong. 

The goodwill created internally by working better together and externally by funding partners who see a national organisation with strong ties and understanding of the local communities we work in.


We are very pleased with how we were able to recreate our donor newsletter using local and national skills and resources. The Report to Donors should do much to improve our retention rate as it is an update with a soft ask. This was about growing our donor relationships/partnerships. 

Showcasing the impact of a donor investment and speaking to the donor locally while anchoring our work in the Canadian landscape. We are looking to create excitement though shared goals and accountability. 
Since the publication of the Report to Donors, three local sites who were not included in the original campaign have used the design and templates created for the project to create their own Report to Donors.